During times of uncertainty or change, I often revert back to thoughts akin to my old nature. I've written about this before as it relates to my faith journey. Basically, instead of standing firm on grace, I drown in self-condemnation and timidity, especially in relation to other people. I am driven by self-perceived expectations of others, which are always unattainable. My need for their love and approval trumps the love the Lord so freely offers.
I hate when I get in that place, but at least I can now recognize it, fight for truth, and confess my misplaced priorities to the Lord. That fight has been difficult in this season of my life. Uncertainty about my role in the church, friendships, and writing has given way to fear and discontentment. In a time when I have most needed to reflect on God's love and sovereignty over my life, I have instead looked for assurance from people.
This past week we went to the beach with my family. As I prayed through the unrest in my heart one morning sitting on the balcony overlooking the beach, I could see Kyle and the boys playing along the shoreline. From my perch, they looked so little compared to the ocean. I realized I had spent most of the week on the beach looking down at my kids, helping them look for seashells or chasing crabs. When I took time to take in the ocean, reaching from horizon to horizon in all directions, God nudged me. What you see here is so vast, so deep, powerful with waves and yet it's just a tiny sliver of the entire ocean. That is like my love for you. It's immense, unmeasurable. Now look at your husband and your children playing on the beach. They have no power to tame the ocean, like I do. Pursuing their approval or anyone else's is like looking for a small love while ignoring the beauty and powerful love around you.It's no wonder we are fascinated by the ocean, drawn to it for relaxation and to escape the busyness of our days. It's a picture of God's love and grace continually pounding over us. It's powerful waves, just like God's love, grind the hardest stones to sand. It speaks love, love, love forever and ever, a love that cannot be compared to any human love.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies...
For as the heavens are high above the earth
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:1-4, 11-12